Cassie Donish
Three Poems

The End of Fair Weather



I place a bundle of white feathers in a drawer.

I gather cloud slips to give to a lover.

This is among the last blue-sky days.

The continent will soon go full centigrade.

Each day in winter will be a mirror

through which one may step, overdressed,

into record-breaking summer.

It’s not useless to call out

the name of a moth just gone

extinct, just as it’s not useless to sing

in a dead language

while frying eggs to start the day.

As in, either it is or isn’t useless.

Who here is qualified to decide?

I see the larkspur vanishing.

I see my jeans threading to skin.

In a dream, a lover tells me to start

a panic journal. I say, I don’t want these things

written down. She sends me the ocean

in a black envelope.

I see myself opening it

on a pixelated screen. I see my name

beside the word executor.





Survival Gown



Beneath your skin, a flood

of glass is surfacing. It means I stay

alone for years


during your week

in the hospital. You breathe like rose

hips crushed, mouth too muddy


to believe. I’m one to talk—

the stylist asks if I want my lies

to show through. I wade into


a flooded pass. No doctors

attend to me. I dream your departure,

parting my hair


into a disguise.

The angles here are husks of sun

that melt and run off the roof edge.


My secret: I’m afraid

                       of being left

when this is over. When nothing is left.


In my next life, I live with a dog

in a valley painted blue. She sits

on my lap while I eat salmon,


peach, artichoke. She licks

the plate clean. For years I wore

any dress thrown my way,


loved anyone I saw crying, lived

in valved rooms. Erect

in my harness, I touch what touches


the point where my nerve comes

to an end. What’s the point? Pleasure

and pain are only a few


degrees removed. Lately, even upright,

I’m a sound-swollen horizon

lined with dead ends and cement.





Reservation at Cold Resort



It is time for the day’s report. The last peach tree

has died and along with it every natural

summer past this June. I try to save

you and fail. I walk to the corner in the heat

to undress. Instead I buy a mountain

of shiny limes,

they mold immediately.

I steal a carton of grass, unripe bananas,

swollen mangoes, verdigris

from an alley. Love, it’s about

to rain again. You should believe me.

After all, you’re the one

on fire. From between two glass panes

I slide out an overgrown live oak

whose lungs could suck up a galaxy.

Your hair fills with ash, but you don’t

seem to mind. I look at dozens of images

of Jupiter’s moons. I rename all of them

Johanna. Sometimes I still think of your back

cool beneath the circles of my palms.







Found In Volume 49, No. 04
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Cassie Donish
About the Author

Cassie Donish is a queer Jewish writer from California, author of the poetry collections The Year of the Femme (University of Iowa Press, 2019), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, and Beautyberry (Slope Editions, 2018). Their nonfiction chapbook On the Mezzanine (Gold Line Press, 2019) was chosen by Maggie Nelson as winner of the Gold Line Press Chapbook Competition.